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THOMAS S. WRIGHT


One of the men who is doing notable work in the upper Guyan Valley for the Baptist cause is Rev. Thomas Simeon Wright, pastor of the Baptist church at Lorado. Like so many of the other religious leaders of the State he hails from the Old Dominion. He first saw the light in Lynchburg, Va., on September 13, 1886. It is interesting to note that his father William James Wright was also a Baptist minister. Rev. T. S. Wright's mother, before she married his father, was Emma Johnson, she was the daughter of Tom and Larky Johnson.

Mr. Wright was married on March 18, 1918, to Miss Bessie E. Handy of Elkins, W. Va. She was educated at Institute. They have one child, Katherine Louise Wright.

A minister's education is an important matter, and the qualities displayed in securing it often exemplify the man, as well as his later work. Mr. Wright laid the foundation of his education in the public schools of Lynchburg. After that it was necessary for him to make his own way, but he persevered through the years, and secured liberal training. He spent three years at Virginia Seminary and College at Lynchburg where he combined his literary and theological work. He has continued to read and study and is a well informed man.

His religious experience began very early in life, due no doubt to the fact that he grew up in a religious atmosphere. He was converted at the tender age of seven and joined the first Baptist church at Pocahontas, where the family then lived.

By the time he was fifteen he was definitely committed to preaching the Gospel--and was licensed at twenty. The following year he was ordained to the full work of the ministry by the Tried Stone Baptist Church of Grove City, Penn., and for fifteen years has been in the active pastorate. He served that church for two years and finished paying for it, and went from there to Youngstown, Ohio. He was then missionary for the Northern Baptist Association for five years, which included field work such as meetings, institutes, and the organization and strengthening of the Baptist work in weak places.

He was then called to the Shiloh Baptist Church at Elkins, W. Va., which he served for three years and repaired the house of worship. The membership grew from 50 to more than 200. In 1919 he accepted the call of the Lorado church, which has experienced, under his ministry, its greatest period of prosperity. In three years the membership has increased from 35 to 173. Mr. Wright does his own revival work, in which he has been unusually successful.

He is prominent in the work of the denomination, being Secretary of the Guyan Valley Association, Secretary of the Ministers & Deacons' Union and First Vice-President of the State Ministers Union. In his church, Mr. Wright has created a regular relief fund for the distressed and for emergencies through which he disburses in practical assistance of those in need as much as $2,000 a year. He is the founder and Grand Master of a fraternal order known as the Improved Benevolent Society of America which is making rapid progress.

As would be expected, he is a Republican in politics.

In his reading he naturally puts the Bible first, after that he has a fondness for history and poetry. He contemplates making a trip to Africa in 1923. He believes the greatest single need of the race at this time is Christian education.


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